Dutch speculaas cookies are traditional spiced windmill cookies with almonds served on St. Nicholas Day in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Dutch Speculaas Cookies
By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
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Windmill cookies (Dutch Speculaas) have been a favorite cookie of mine since I was a little girl, and a generation later, they became a favorite of my daughter.
Traditionally, these Dutch cookies are made for St. Nicholas Day and holiday celebrations. We often see them as molded windmill cookies with sliced almonds, but the molds can be quite elaborate, just as gingerbread molds often are. And there are so many kinds of molds, both new and old, or in simplest terms, these can be easily rolled and cut with cookie cutters.
For this year’s Christmas Cookie Week (and also for the International Cookie Exchange today), I wanted these to be a part, that perhaps they can also become a tradition in your home.
Those who know me know that I like to collect vintage kitchen tools and gadgets. Among them I have some antique cookie molds. I did use one for demonstration here, but the ones I have are quite large- the windmill mold is much bigger than the usual cookies. And I have gingerbread molds that are HUGE! But unless I am giving those singly as gifts, don’t mess with them much.
Cookies in a shortbread pan or cut out are much easier to manage in a cookie jar. I have added tips for those, as well as those brown bag molds which I have had for years and years. I’m not sure how easy to find tips on using those is, but I think you can still buy them. As for the wooden ones, just keep your eyes peeled at antique shops. They turn up now and again.
You could also use a springerle rolling pin on this- just keep the dough about 3/8″ thick on that. I also have various cookie stamps that can be used the same way- except those are usually cut out round or square (according to the stamp shape) and then pressed into the dough to give its shape.
The almonds on these are what I am used to. They are optional, as the cookies will be just fine without. It all depends on if you like nuts in your cookies (I do). And while the amount of spice seems a lot, it is not that heavy. Commercial cookies often use way more, so if you like it heavier, add more (taste the dough and see).
Not much else to say on these, but if you have questions, just “ring me on the blog-phone” (add a comment) or write me at email@example.com and that goes right through to my mail.
I have cookies going up all week as part of the cookie event. Tomorrow I am sharing Salted Caramel Oatmeal cookies, followed by Cranberry Christmas Balls, Candied Ginger Shortbread and Black Forest Brownies on the other days. Join me each day!
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Dutch Speculaas Cookies (Windmill Cookies)
Dutch Speculaas Cookies (Windmill Cookies)
- 9x9 inch nonstick shortbread pan
- waxed paper
- 7 ounces butter at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons speculaas spice mix click on link for recipe or use purchased
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- nonstick cooking spray
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
Method (using shortbread pan):
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, allowing each to mix in, then add the extracts and molasses.
- Sift together the salt, baking powder, speculaas spice mix, and flour.
- Add flour mix to the mixer on low, beating in until you have a smooth dough.
- Press 1/3 of the dough mix (about 3/8" thick) into a heavily sprayed shortbread pan. Make sure you use nonstick oil spray (such as Pam) and not the baking spray that contains both oil and flour (Baker's Joy).
- Press it out using a piece of waxed paper so it doesn't stick to your fingers, and smooth it using a small roller (I used a cannoli form).
- Sprinkle the dough with sliced almonds and press down lightly so they stick.
- Refrigerate the dough in the mold for about 15 minutes.
- Bake in the pan for thirty minutes or until lightly brown at the edges.
- Cool in pan ten minutes, run a small knife around the edge then turn out onto a cutting board, tapping lightly if needed to free the cookies.
- Cut the cookies with a sharp knife along the lines while they are still warm.
Method: (using wooden molds)
- Bake as above, except, chill the dough before putting in the mold.
- Brush the mold with powdered sugar instead of using nonstick spray.
- Gently remove the cookie from the mold before baking.
- Chill the cookies on the baking pan for 15 minutes before baking.
- Bake only till lightly brown at the edges and feel firm. Time may vary with the size of the molds.
- Cool the cookies on the pan for ten minutes, then finish cooling on a wire rack.
Brown Bag molds (stoneware molds):
- Bake as you would with the wooden molds, except instead of dusting with powdered sugar, spray the molds with Baker's Release spray (like Baker's Joy) and the dough should come out of those readily.
- Note: The dough can also be rolled out 3/8" thick and cut with cookie cutters.
Christmas Cookies Week
Join us each day this week for delicious cookie recipes!
- Alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies) by Caroline’s Cooking
- Candy Cane Tassies by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies by The Bitter Side of Sweet
- Crystallized Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies by Faith, Hope, Love and Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
- Dutch Speculaas Cookies by Palatable Pastime
- Easy Sugar Cookies by Bear & Bug Eats
- Empire Cookies by Red Cottage Chronicles
- Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cookies by Making Miracles
- Gingerbread Men Cookies by The Freshman Cook
- Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cookies by Books n Cooks
- Holiday Sugar Sprinkle Butter Cookies by Family Around the Table
- Italian Rainbow Cookies by Everyday Eileen
- Loaded Festive Chocolate Chip Cookies by Daily Dish Recipes
- Makrut Macaroons by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Mocha filled Sandwich Cookies by Jolene’s Recipe Journal
- Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Pecan Caramel Turtle Bars by Tip Garden
- Pepparkakor (Swedish Ginger Cookies) by The Redhead Baker
- Peppermint Candy Canes by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Peppermint Crinkle Cookies by Strawberry Blondie Kitchen
- Peppermint Macarons by House of Nash Eats
- Peppermint Mocha Shortbread Cookies by Cooking with Carlee
- Peppermint Shortbreads by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Pistachio Wedding Cookies by Soulfully Made
- Raspberry Filled Coconut Snowflakes by Making The Most of Naptime
- Raspberry Thumbprint cookies by Simple And Savory
- Rum Logs by Corn, Beans Pigs and Kids
- Vanilla Bean Pizzelles by Love and Confections
- White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies by Kate’s Recipe Box
We’re celebrating International cookies today – see the tasty treats from around the world:
- Alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies) from Caroline’s Cooking
- Boussou La Tmessou (Algerian Shortbread Cookies) from Tara’s Multicultural Table
- Chocolate Sable Cookies from Curious Cuisiniere
- Dutch Speculaas Cookies from Palatable Pastime
- Pepparkakor (Swedish ginger cookies) from The Redhead Baker
- Peppermint Shortbread Cookies from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Polvorosas from Five Senses Palate
Join my recipe group on Facebook for more recipes from blogger friends around the world!
These are so pretty! I love almond and orange, a perfect holiday cookie combination. Thanks for joining Christmas Cookies Week.
I love windmill cookies and our daughter has us over each St Nicholas Day for dinner. I am getting some molds and making these for next year. Thanks Sue.
Speculaas are definitely a December favorite in our house!
Speculaas have been on my list for so long, these look delicious!
Perfect for Nikolaustag! We picked up a windmill mold while in Amsterdam last year and have enjoyed putting it to use. I have that snowflake shortbread pan on my wishlist and this makes me want it even more. I also love your layer of almonds.
I love these but I never tried making them. Thanks for a recipe!
I have never heard of or seen these before. I love when I see a post with something that is totally new to me! They look absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing these
These are definitely on my list. I have some cookie stamps that I haven’t used yet, and this recipe sounds perfect.
I have a question about this. The link to the spice mix says it yields 2 teaspoons of spice mix. Your recipe here calls for 2 TABLESPOONS of spice mix. I just wanted to make sure that is accurate. Thank you!
It’s accurate. My spice mix is used in multiple recipes, and not all of them at the same amount. For the cookies here, you would mix up three orders of spice mix- just measure it out three times, as three x 2tsp= 2 tbsp. Sometimes with spices I will make the recipe for a lot more, but with this particular spice, I keep it as small as I can since I doubt some people would end up using all of it before time to switch out old spices in their spice cabinet.
Hi, If I roll them out and use cookie cutters, how long to bake ? You don’t give a time above.
You may have overlooked it, because the bake time is in the recipe.